The Alpine Panorama Route takes you over breathtaking passes and through unique gorges through the northern foothills of the Alps. Starting near Lake Constance, you cycle along the edge of the Alps to just before Lake Geneva. On the way, winding climbs and rapid descents with grandiose panoramas await you. Snow-capped peaks in the distance and romantic forests along the way alternate with lush pastures. The moorland landscape of the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch and the breathtaking Lake Lucerne are just some highlights that will enchant you along the way.
The Alpine Panorama Route is around 298 miles (480 kilometers) long and can be cycled in eight stages, which are between 28 and 50 miles (46 and 80 kilometers) long. The route through Switzerland is challenging due to the many meters of altitude difference. If you want to take it easier, however, you can easily cut the stages in half or shorten them by train or boat on Lake Lucerne.
The tour starts in St. Margrethen. The community is only a few miles away from Lake Constance and you can reach it by bike via the Lake Constance cycle path or the Rhine cycle path. There is also a railway station in the town, which is served by Swiss Interregio trains as well as various S-Bahn lines and Eurocity trains. St. Margrethen can also be reached directly from Bregenz in Austria and Munich in Germany.
Aigle, the destination of the Alpine Panorama Route, is located in the Rhone Valley not far from Lake Geneva. The town also has a railway station from which you have connections to Geneva and Lausanne. There are also stations along the route and in almost all destinations. A wide range of accommodation is also available along the route, both in the destinations and on the way. The rustic alpine restaurants, cozy guest rooms and charming cafés, which always invite you to enjoy breaks, round off the unique experience on the Alpine Panorama Route.
Start of the first stage of the Alpine Panorama Route is in St. Margrethen, which is only a few kilometers from Lake Constance. You can reach the community via the Lake Constance cycle path, the Rhine Cycle Route or by train.From the train station, you drive to the start a short, flat piece through the Rhine Valley, then you start with the ascent to the beautiful Appenzellerland. Through cozy farmland you cycle past lush pastures and picturesque woodland. You will always enjoy beautiful views of the hilly landscape and the pointed Alpine peaks in the distance. On the way you pass at regular intervals small places where you can find rest stops for relaxing breaks.After about 30 kilometers you have the biggest climbs behind you. Now you usually roll downhill comfortably and pedal only in small increases again properly on the pedals. In Appenzell, the capital of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, you reach today's stage destination. On a stroll through the beautiful old town you can end the first day of the bike ride.
From Appenzell you will cycle through a hilly landscape, which is characterized by pastures and woodland. Countless rustic farms are located along the way, one of which is more beautiful than the other. In constant up and down the route meanders through the Toggenburg in a westerly direction. On the way, you will drive through some small places where you can find inns and grocery stores if you want to strengthen yourself.Half way there you will reach Wattwil after a refreshing descent. The municipality is located on the Thur and offers a wide range of cafes and restaurants to stop by. You can also find accommodation and a train station here if you want to halve the stage.With renewed strength you then cycle along a short, flat stretch along the river Thur, before a climb brings you back into the wonderful hilly landscape with wide meadows and romantic forests. From Gommiswald follows a rapid descent down to the Linth. On a flat stretch you follow the river to the finish line Glarus and enjoy wonderful views of the Glarus mountains.
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On a slightly ascending route, you will start the third stage along picturesque Linth. While cycling along the shore, you can enjoy the beautiful nature by the river. You roll through romantic forests, across expansive meadows and can always let your eyes wander over the sparkling water to the mighty mountains.After 20 kilometers begins the climb up to the Klausen Pass. The Klausenstraße, on which you drive, winds now in tight serpentines up the mountain. The views you enjoy on the way up are phenomenal and make you forget all the effort. If you need a break halfway up, you can stop in Urnerboden. The high valley is the largest alp in Switzerland and in the small settlement you will find a drinking water station, a village shop and an inn.With renewed energy, you work your way up until you reach the summit of the Klaus. Again, you can stop for a well-deserved break. From now on it is almost only downhill. On a nearly 30 kilometer long downhill you roll down the winding road to Unterschächen and continue via Bürglen to Flüelen on Lake Lucerne. Here you have reached the milestone and can end the day with a view of the water.
From Flüelen you cycle on an almost flat stretch along the spectacular Axenstraße on the shore of Lake Lucerne. The road meanders along steep cliffs towards the north. In some places it is even carved in the rock. The views on the way are breathtaking, because you can see both the rocky coast and the wide expanse of water of the lake as well as the snow-capped mountains in the distance.Via the village of Brunnen you cycle along the shore to Gersau. Here you can take a refreshing break in the beach. Then you cross the lake by ferry and drive across the river to Stansstad.Along Alpnachersee, a tributary of Lake Lucerne, you will cycle to its western end. Via Alpnach and Sarnen you reach the Sarnersee. Here you can enjoy unique views of the water, lovely wooded mountains and rugged, snow-capped peaks. You cycle leisurely through this picturesque landscape of Obwalden, until the climb on the Glaubenbüelen begins shortly before the end of the stage. During the demanding ride on the pass you have breathtaking views down into the valley and the lake. After you have reached the top of the pass, you can roll yourself to the stage goal Sörenberg.
At the beginning of the fifth stage you cycle through the enchanting UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch south of the Schrattenfluh. Here light woods and alpine swamps await you. Then you roll down the valley of the Emme. You will always be surrounded by fantastic landscapes that will allow you to look into the distance.Shortly after Schangnau it goes uphill again, namely on the Schallenbergpass. Arriving at 1,167 meters, you deserve a break that you can enjoy at the inn at the top of the pass. Freshly strengthened, you then make yourself at the exit.First, you roll down the winding road through a beautiful forest and meadow landscape on the first kilometers. Then follows a flat piece that leads you past lush pastures, farms and small villages. From Schwarzenegg it is downhill again and you can roll over Steffisburg to the final destination Thun.
The first few kilometers of the sixth stage are flat until you enter the Gantrisch Nature Park. First you overcame a moderate slope, which brings you to Wattenwil. Here you can take a break for the first time and gather strength for the most demanding ascent of the day.You work your way up a winding road. On the way and especially from the highest point at 872 meters, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Wattenwil, Lake Thun and the snow-capped Alps. On a long, downhill ride through a lovely landscape you can regain your strength before it goes in a moderate ups and downs to Schwarzenburg. Here you can take a long break and relax.Freshly strengthened, you will hurry down following a fast descent into the Sensegraben. After crossing the scythe in the valley, it's just as steep on the other side. Via Sankt Antoni and Tafers we finally reach the valley of the Sarine and then a few meters up to the old town of Freiburg, today's destination. At the end of the day you can admire around 200 gothic facades.
From Freiburg you roll back down to the valley of the Sarine at the beginning of the seventh stage. After a subsequent crisp climb, it goes through the river valley and then through a lovely landscape to the Lac de la Gruyère in even up and down. Above the reservoir you cycle along its entire length to the south. You can enjoy unique views of the blue lake and the Friborg Alps.Behind the lake you can already see the castle of Gruyères and the town of the same name, both located on a hill. Once at the top, you can treat yourself to a break, stroll through the narrow streets and have a leisurely stop.Freshly strengthened, you then dive into the Regional Nature Park Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut and cycle through a picturesque landscape. On lush pastures, you can always observe happy grazing cows here. Via Grandvillard you drive parallel to the Sarine south until you reach the stage destination Montbovon.
On the last leg of the Alpine Panorama route, you continue through the enchanting landscape of the Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Regional Nature Park. It goes from the starting point in Montbovon evenly uphill. Past alpine pastures, you cycle up through deeply cut valleys.Finally, you reach the Lac de l'Hongrin, which spreads out before you in bright blue. You drive in the east around the top of the reservoir and cycle south of the lake along its entire length. You continue to drive up and enjoy great views. Through forests and meadows you work your way up to the highest point of the stage, which you reach on the pass Les Agites at 1,528 meters. During a break you can enjoy unique views all the way to Lake Geneva.In a long descent you finally roll over 1,000 meters down into the Rhone Valley, where you reach Aigle, the destination of the tour. Thanks to the mild climate, wine is grown here, from which you can enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the panoramic bike tour, before you start the journey home from Aigle by train.